Vice Squad
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
What is up with Seacoast?

This quiet New England resort area is a hotbed of heroin activity, at least according to some of its residents and police. Vice Squad has previously discussed the heroin "epidemic" in the Seacoast region. Now, an editorial in the Portsmouth Herald calls on the community to recognize the huge heroin problem among privileged teens by increasing police presence on school campuses. The author relies on a couple of tragic stories involving heroin overdoses.

Now, I'm not sure that there is a heroin epidemic in Seacoast. From everything I've read it seems to be driven by some hysterical people reacting to a few terrible tales. Regardless, basing public policy on anecdotal evidence does not make sense. For every overdose story one can come up with, someone else can probably point to hundreds of people who use the drug without incident. Basing policy on fear is effective in getting support for it, but long term effects of such an approach are often less than optimal.

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